Moths and Butterflies

Wednesday, May 1st 2019

Volunteers have been hard at work this week surveying the moths and butterflies on the reserve. This morning, the moth trap was full. This Purple Thorn was a highlight and the first of this species to be recorded in 2019.

Moth identification is quite addictive and even the dull coloured ones often have beautiful intricate patterns. This Early Grey is no exception and as its English name suggests, it is one of the earliest moths to emerge in the season, flying from March to May.


The Water Carpet is another spring flying species which feeds on Bedstraw.


On close inspection, this Pale Prominent, which resembles a piece of broken wood, appears to have a fluffy head and tail! The long abdomen, divided tail tufts and strongly feathered antennae on this individual all indicate that it is a male. The foodplant for this moth is Willow which would explain why it is regularly observed at Foxglove.

A team of enthusiasts meet at the field centre every Wednesday morning to empty the traps and to identify the different species. Most are then photographed which is not always easy!


Butterfly transects are also taking place again now that the weather has warmed a little and yesterday was a perfect day to count the adults on the wing. Catherine counted 82 in total of the following:

Brimstone                 4

Small White              6

Green veined white  5

Orange tip              29

Peacock                 20

Speckled wood       18

Our thanks to everyone involved with this important information which is passed on to the relevant county recorders. Butterflies and moths are a great indicator of the state of the environment around them. Thank you too to Elizabeth for today's photographs.


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